I have been volunteering with Midland Mencap for a couple of months now and it has exceeded my expectations.

I initially joined as a placement student from university and while capturing content from one of the football sessions I really enjoyed the environment I was in and the engagements I was having. I went back to the office and talked to the Volunteering Manager about joining in with the football. A very easy process of providing a few key details, having a simple chat about the role and since my DBS was already done, I was ready to go.

I attend when I can, and I let the team know I will be coming in and from there I have as much fun as anyone else there whilst making a difference in someone else’s life. Over the weeks I have seen improvements in how social everyone has become with me and with other new people while working on their football skills. I feel like I am part of the team and feel welcomed by both the staff and the players which is mostly from how much fun we have together.

I will help set up and support the staff with activities which puts my knowledge of football, communication, and support into action while also keeping physically fit. I have developed my ability to communicate with different people as the group is so varied and unique and I feel a lot more confident with newcomers too. This has put inclusiveness at the heart of football for everyone and it has made me happy to see those with learning disabilities receive equal opportunities at a game many of us love and enjoy.

I have had personal experience with learning disability through friends and family, so I understood the difficulties and barriers they have in certain areas of life. Here at Midland Mencap, you will see results from your efforts and that is fulfilling to see. You are supported by staff, praised by parents and carers, and treated as a friend by your new teammates.

My favourite part has been the tournaments the team go to every month. Before the games have even started, the team is excited to see one another and warm up for games. I support them in a few warmup drills alongside the coaches and it is great to see the confidence in the team going into games. The matches themselves will keep you on your toes as you are always eager to see your team do well. There is plenty of cheering, exciting drama and nonstop crazy celebrations. You will feel proud and fulfilled from the whole journey with the team which is a fraction of the reasons you will want to keep coming back.

If you have a passion for sports and for football especially, this is a perfect opportunity to make a difference and find a community of people that are as passionate as you are. I joined for the love of football, and I stayed to continue seeing others enjoy the sport as much as I do especially if they never had the opportunities me and you did.

Want to learn more about volunteering at Midland Mencap? Click here

By Zaryab Khan

Date: Sunday 25th February 2024

Venue: AVFC Dome, Tame Road, Witton, Birmingham

Weather: Dry, sunny but cold!! (It did warm up a little!)


Dale Shore (GK in part), Liam Black, Scott Cox (GK in part), Katharine Hyslop, Ben Twells, James Lowe, Oliver Clayton

Unavailable: Jordan Chandler (some excuse about being in New Zealand!!) & Sam Robinson who had a chest infection.

Courtney Telfer & new boy, Daniel, were also present, but are not registered to play yet.

The MM fans had assembled in good numbers again and got ready for very vocal support from the stands. It was commented on very positively by Ref Roy who popped into our stand, mid game to say hi!

Nobody at all missed Ian Chandler !!!!!! Rather strangely the AVFC side did not take part and so the matches were all doubled up – playing each other twice

1st Match:

Versus BCFC 3-0 MMFC

Team: Scott Cox (GK), Kath Hyslop, Dale Shore, Ben Twells, James Lowe & Oliver Clayton

Early pressure from BCFC saw them going close but strong defending from MM kept them at bay. James Lowe cleared very well before two outstanding saves from GK Scott Cox.

Unfortunately, a breakaway from BCFC saw Scott exposed in a 2 versus 1 situation and they took the lead. Dale Shore was next on hand to clear away danger.

The pressure from BCFC paid off when they scored another goal. At the other end Dale went close after being supported well by both Kath Hyslop and Ben Twells.

Oliver Clayton was working well in midfield too.

Liam Black came on as a sub and his energy very nearly paid off as he went close to scoring. Despite another great attack from MM and a top stop from Scott Cox, BCFC ran out 3-0 winners.

2nd Match:

Midland Mencap FC Versus Sutton ‘Blues’. MMFC 0-1 Sutton Blues

Team: Scott Cox (GK), Dale Shore, Oliver Clayton, Kath Hyslop, Ben Twells, Liam Black & James Lowe.

This game started very positively for MM with their GK being called into action twice early on. Dale and Scott also had to be on their toes to clear danger away.

However, Sutton took advantage of some lax defending to score what turned out to be the only goal of the game.

MM continued to attack, but also had some good fortune at the back with a couple of shots that went very close to increasing the lead.

Liam and James tried hard to get MM back into the game but they couldn’t make any impact on the Sutton defence

3rd Match:

Midland Mencap FC Versus BCFC (game 2). MMFC 1-2 BCFC


Dale Shore (GK), Oliver Clayton, Ben Twells, Kath Hyslop, Scott Cox, James Lowe & Liam Black

Against a very strong BCFC side MM started brightly forcing two great saves from the BCFC goalie. The game looked quite even but suddenly BCFC broke upfield to open the scoring.

MM equalised soon after with a great strike from James Lowe after good work from Oliver Clayton and Ben Twells.

Liam Black also put in some strong challenges in midfield

Despite some super defending from both Kath Hyslop & Scott Cox, BCFC sneaked a

late winner.

There was still time for Scott Cox to go close, but MM just ran out of steam.

4th Match:

MMFC Versus Sutton Blues (2nd game). MMFC 0-4 Sutton


Dale Shore (GK), Ben Twells, Kath Hyslop, Scott Cox, Oliver Clayton, Liam Black & James Lowe

The second match against Sutton proved to be very tough. They had put out a slightly stronger side as MM battled hard to keep in the game.

James and Scott were both forced into make great blocks and clearances, before MM lost possession and Sutton broke away to score. Kath Hyslop went very close with a great shot and Oliver Clayton and Ben Twells battled away in midfield.

MM went close on 3 more occasions with top efforts from James, Kath and Liam Black

Sutton continued to press though and they opened up a 3 goal lead with some very strong strikes on goal.

Dale was putting on a great show in goal and James went close at the other end.

MM were awarded a penalty just before full time and despite Ben Twells hitting his penalty very well, their GK just managed to turn the ball away – it was just not Midland Mencap’s day!!!

The supporters were also very proud of the squad and wanted to thank coaches Suzanna & Charis for their contribution to another great Sunday Ability Counts League session.

Suzanne and Charis were both delighted with the effort from everyone.

The weather had warmed up a little by the end and the fans went home happy that their team had worked really hard against some top teams – well done everyone!

Author: John Hyslop

Support our fundraiser for the MMFC new kit and equipment on JustGiving page at https://bit.ly/3Nyo7V4.

Midland Mencap FC, Birmingham Ability Counts League, Match Report Sunday 17th December 2023


James Lowe – Today’s captain, Ben Twells, Katharine Hyslop, Jordan Chandler, Dale Shore and Scott Cox.

Unfortunately for our last set of games we were without 3 regular players with Oliver Clayton, Liam Black & Sam Robinson unavailable. Everyone wished them all a great Christmas and hoped to see them all again in 2024!

The weather was certainly chilly, and it welcomed the Mencap media team (Zaryab & Lewis) to witness their first session. They were also able to photo all the players in their brilliant new kit and complete numerous interviews with players and parents.

The players all looked buoyed by their physical appearance in their new kit – which was fantastic!

Versus Sutton Blues

Game 1

Score: MMFC 0-2 Sutton Blues

Team: Scott Cox (GK), James Lowe, Kath Hyslop, Jordan Chandler, Ben Twells

This game got off at a cracking pace with both sides going close! Scott Cox was forced to make two splendid saves and MM showed some great passing moves. Captain for the day, James Lowe had two tremendous shots just go wide as MM pressed forward. A slight defensive mix up allowed the opponents to score their first goal. Just before the final whistle Sutton sneaked another goal, but MM had contributed to an excellent game.

Game 2

Score MMFC 0-1 Sutton Blues

Team: Dale Shore (GK), Ben Twells, James Lowe, Kath Hyslop, Scott Cox & Jordan Chandler

This game was very exciting, with chances at both ends. Jordan Chandler had a great shot that went close as did James Lowe. This was followed be a super challenge from Ben Twells chasing back. Then Scott Cox came to rescue the team with a fabulous clearance. Despite all the great defending, MM conceded a goal against the run of play. There was still time for an equaliser and both Scott and James going close – with James’ shot hitting the post.

Versus Aston Villa

Game 1:

Score: MMFC 0-0 AVFC

Team: Scott Cox (GK), James Lowe, Kath Hyslop, Jordan Chandler & Ben Twells

What a game! Against very strong opposition MM really all worked hard, together to keep out the opponents. There was some really great tackling and interceptions to deny Villa. After some great passing MM hit the post, through James Lowe.

Kath, Jordan & Ben all worked really well in both attack and defence. Then, Scott Cox was called into action again, making two really super saves.

The game ended goalless, but it was a fine performance from MM.

Game 2:

Score MMFC 1-1 AVFC

Team: Scott Cox (GK), Jordan Chandler, Dale Shore, Ben Twells & Kath Hyslop

MM continued to try to play good football with lots of passing to each other. Their first great move resulted in a corner. This was followed by a great shot from Dale Shore that just went wide! Then another shot from Dale hit the post before MM took the lead through a tremendous Ben Twells strike.

The game continued end to end with Kath Hyslop passing to Jordan Chandler who hit another great shot wide. At the other end GK Scott Cox made two fab saves to keep MM ahead.

With the seconds running down AVFC manged to scramble an equaliser to finish off a great game.

Versus Birmingham City

Game 1:

Score: MMFC 1-0 BCFC

Team: Dale Shore (GK), Kath Hyslop, Scott Cox, Ben Twells & Jordan Chandler

The coaches changed the MM set up around a little for this game with Dale going in goal with Scott slotting in at the back and Kath going up front. The team showed great spirit in their defending and came close to scoring on a couple of occasions. Dale was forced into making two great saves, whilst just before James came on as a sub, Kath had set up some chances and one of those opportunities was rewarded when Jordan Chandler struck a great long-range effort that proved to be the deserved winning goal!

Game 2:

Score MMFC 0-3 BCFC

Team: Dale Shore (GK), Kath Hyslop, Scott Cox, Ben Twells and Jordan Chandler

In our final game of the day BCFC just proved a little too strong for a spirited MM team. Despite some great goalkeeping from Dale and some great blocks, clearances and challenges from Jordan, Kath, Scott and Ben MM slipped to defeat, but came out of all their games with enormous pride.

Well played everyone!

In the post-match interview a truly delighted team manager, Suzanne Cashmore, was glowing in her praise for all the team members: “Charis and I have been absolutely delighted with how the team played today, both individually and as a team”. Suzanne added “their performance today showed how far they have all progressed; two draws and a great win was the ideal way to sign off for Christmas”

The fan zone also echoed those comments, with Ian ‘Tesco’ Chandler, Adrian ‘funny boy’ Twells & Mick ‘the cap’ Cox all vocal in their support of the team. The ladies were of course in total support but showed much more decorum.

Referee Roy was as even handed as usual despite large wads on fivers being waved in his face from the rowdy support crowd!

The players and coaching staff want to wish everyone a happy Christmas and healthy New Year and we look to welcoming everyone back in 2024, not only to the Sunday Ability Counts League, but also the Tuesday early evening sessions at Moseley School.

Happy Christmas to you all.

Author: John Hyslop

Support our fundraiser for the MMFC new kit and equipment on JustGiving page at https://bit.ly/3Nyo7V4.